Italy says the 18 crew members of an Italian tanker hijacked by pirates off Oman four months ago have been freed.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in a statement Monday that Somali authorities took part in an "ample diplomatic effort" to free the six Italians, five Ukrainians and seven Indians aboard the "Enrico Ievoli."

He did not say if any ransom was paid and provided few details other than to say the ship was now off Somalia's coast.

The ship, owned by the Italian maritime company Marnavi, was carrying a cargo of caustic soda to the Mediterranean. It was hijacked near Oman on Dec. 27.

Ransoms for tankers often reach into the millions of dollars. The long coastline of war-ravaged Somalia provides a perfect haven for pirate gangs preying on shipping off the East African coast.